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Worldwide Papermaking – PI Trainees’ Experiences 2011

Orientation and preparation

I’m sitting in Frankfurt airport, spending more time in Mc’Donalds than ever before in my life (the only place I found to get reasonably priced food). Flight to Sao Paulo leaves after 6 hours so there’s plenty of time to write this blog.

I sent an application to PI’s trainee exchange programme while I was writing my master’s thesis and didn’t have a glue of what I would be doing after few months as a recently graduated paper engineer. When I got information that I had been accepted, I had already mutually agreed to continue my thesis project for six months after a month’s holiday in April. Considering this, I responded to PI that I wouldn’t be able to accept the place, but a friend of mine saw my truly disappointed face and after a short moment of weighing possibilities, I called my bosses (yes, I have whole three of them). I asked if the project could be postponed for summer holiday season, and after a few twists and turns everything was organized and I was able to inform Pirkko that I would be able to leave to Brazil.

Recycling a recycling book

During the last 2 years our team of scientists working in the field of paper recycling could make a very interesting experience by “recycling” the FAPET book “Recycled Fibre and Deinking”. Recycling or updating the content of a book is of course very different from recycling the fibres the book is made from. But there are some similarities: the material has to be broken down into pieces, the work is divided to several sub-processes (authors) and then the unwanted, harmful or detrimental substances are separated, the recyclable material is formed into sheets and pages, new content is added and after several stages of process and quality control a new book can be produced. Like a newspaper printed on recycled paper the new version at first glance looks like the old one. But if one studies the content in detail he will find the differences. Of course there is a lot of basic information which was already in the first edition. Data about processes, equipment and unit operations is updated, latest measuring methods are described and new focuses can be found, like the chapter on recyclability of paper and board products. And the reader will learn that the often cited hypothesis that papermaking fibres can be recycled up to 7 times, only, is a myth. It just has not been proven more than 7 to 10 times due to practical reasons.

The Mentoring programme 2010!

Matti Aarnio wrote:

It was early September 2009 when I first got an e-mail about mentoring programme organized by Paper Engineers’ Association (PI). During that time, I wrote my master’s thesis and I was already thinking the work life after the thesis. Truthfully, I wasn’t so sure about my decision to become a plant design expert and I was eager to learn more about the plant design career. Therefore, the mentoring programme was exactly what I was looking for in that September. I decided to apply immediately and wrote an application to PI that I would like to have a mentor who has made career in plant design side.

The first meeting with mentors and students was in January 2010. When I first met my mentor in lobby before the meeting I already got very positive image of him. In the end of the meeting I found out that the mentor is much more than I expected. He was definitely an expert on the field of plant design, he had lived in all over the world and what was the most important, it was easy to talk with him, no need to be nervous. Later on, I learned that my mentor had started his impressive career in similar way that I’m thinking to start mine and this gave an excellent starting point to our chats after the first meeting.

Winter in Brazil, working at Cenibra

During the Finnish summer Brazil is freezing cold. When the temperature drops below +20 degrees Celsius, the news is all about how you should dress warmly. So, mostly the cold has not been a problem for a Finn, you could even say that the weather is pleasant, during daytime even hot at times.

Brazilian people are great, and even more so after they learn that you are not an American even though you speak English. Cenibra pulp mill is situated in a small town Belo Oriente in the state of Minas Gerais and the nearest city is Ipatinga. Ipatinga has more residents than Turku in Finland but still it is considered a minor city in Brazil. The people around here are very friendly and curious about strangers (and yes, I apparently really look that different from them so that they can tell much before I open my mouth to speak) but the problem is that there are not many people who speak English and I only know a few words of Portuguese so it takes a while sometimes to get the message across.

PulPaper 2010 was a great success

The three day exhibition and conference event came through with flying colours. Considering the last few years difficult times for the industry, the PulPaper exhibition and conference were regarded a great success. During the three days, 12018 visitors from 63 countries attended the event and 625 companies from 30 countries exhibited in 210 stands. Over 350 delegates attended the Opening and Conference.

The technical conference, on the theme ‘Implementing the new rise’, was very well received. A number of internationally renowned speakers inspired the delegates on the subjects of Sustainable solutions, Bioenergy, Winning change and Nanotechnology making sure that PulPaper once again proved to be one of the most high level paper conferences in the world.

PI with AEL, Adforum and Finnish Fairs thanks all participants and sponsors for making this event a real success and the event of year.

Welcome to PulPaper 2010!

Mikko Jokio and Pirkko Molkentin-Matilainen wrote:

Welcome to Helsinki and the year’s biggest international paper industry/bioforest industry event in the world – PulPaper 2010.

The global operating environment of the paper industry is changing rapidly. In this dynamic setting, innovative products and new operating models are crucial in the sector’s bid to maintain and improve its competitive ability.

Implementing a new rise – the theme of PulPaper 2010 Conference – will cover the hottest issues in the bioforest industry today. The focus will centre on sustainable solutions, forest bioenergy, resource efficiency and the latest forest industry breakthroughs in bio and nanotechnology, complete with results from initial demonstrations and pilot plants.

Student seeking the truth about South American forest industries

Simo Wilén wrote:

I was one of the lucky ones chosen to travel to ABTCP-PI 2009 congress with other PI’s student members on October 2009. For me the congress in Brazil was just the beginning of my journey to explore South American forest industries. After beaches in Rio de Janeiro I took a flight to Chile. The highlight of my trip was to participate to ExpoCorma 2009 which was held in the city of Concepción in middle Chile from 11th to 14th of November.

ExpoCorma is organized every other year by Corma which is association of Chilean forest industry corporations. ExpoCorma is mostly about forestry so naturally there were also Finnish companies like Ponsse, ProSilva, Saalasti and BENET representation. Canada was the star of foreign actors in ExpoCorma. Canadian government had its own exhibition building where many Canadian companies could have come with government support money. This kind of protectionism seemed to be a bit unfair towards other actors.

A Group of Finnish students travel to see and experience Brazil – It’s forrest industry and the beaches

Juhana Heino wrote:

It was a cold and miserable morning, the fall was steadily turning into winter and we seldom saw the sun anymore. It was also the time, when 16 Finnish paper, pulp and process technology students met at Helsinki-Vantaa airport with an intention to travel all the way to Brazil. Surprisingly, not only to escape the weather.

PI had assembled the group amongst its own student members and the association was also sponsoring the students on their trip fees. The mission for the trip was to attend the joint ABTCP-PI Pulp and Paper congress and exposition in São Paulo, check out the exposition and to meet up with some Brazilian students and have a small seminar with them and then in the end of the trip to spend a few days in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian trainees’ summer in Finland

Fabiana Gomes:

I am Fabiana Gomes from Brazil. I have been working in pulp and paper field since my graduation, I just got my master’s degree in Forest Resources Technology from University of São Paulo (Brazil) one week before arriving in Finland.

This exchange experience between Finland and Brazil is a great opportunity for many students, which can obtain much knowledge, thus contributing to pulp and paper companies.

My life in Finland has been wonderful and I really like my job in Sappi company. I am learning so much here, everybody is very nice to me, and helps me in everything that I need. Besides my work, I am enjoying the summer time in Finland. The weather is very nice and nature in Finland is incredible, many trees and lakes make a beautiful view. I am living in Lohja, which is a small city, but very comfortable and also near Helsinki, which is an interesting city. Its architecture is very beautiful and some islands around the city are good places to relax and enjoy summer time. Living in Finland is a good experience for me. I get to know a different culture, food, and to learn some Finnish words, but it is not so easy!

Innovations – are they needed for the Finnish paper industry?

Pentti Sierilä, Jouni Huuskonen and Jaakko Palsanen wrote: (Suomenkielinen blogi löytyy blogisivulta englanninkielisen perästä.)

Today, according to the public discussion, the Finnish paper industry is labelled by doom and gloom. Mills are being shut and competent and experienced personnel find themselves forced to admit that it is the end of the road. Persons who regard themselves as experts try to prove that the paper industry in Finland has no future any more. This is a sad message for the senior papermakers. Has the prosperous, high quality paper industry, which was built by past generations, been undermined? Has the national backbone of the Finnish economy been dilapidated?

It is also advised that the only solution for the future is to start investments in new businesses like bio-energy and nanotechnology. This idea may be good, but meaningful profits will not be generated in the next couple of years from these businesses. Rather it may take more than ten years to materialize. We have to realize that the “traditional” paper industry is the only major profit generator for the Finnish paper companies, at least in the next ten years to come. Secondly, these so called experts claim that the industry has invested nothing in the development in the past. Perhaps they are not aware of what has been done in the period from 1950’s to 1990’s, when significant innovations changed the whole industry.

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